The state of emergency has been lifted from Baltimore, Maryland. The healing can now begin, hopefully.
According to the Baltimore Sun, Maryland governor Larry Hogan lifted the 10-day state of emergency on Wednesday. Hogan said, “tensions still remain high. It’s calmed down, but it’s still right beneath the surface.” Hogan will move the state government back to the offices in Annapolis from the city building that became temporary shelter during the rioting.
Hogan’s two main responsibilities now is to pay for the state of emergency and to begin rebuilding Baltimore. Hogan has committed $20 million from the state’s “rainy-day” fund to help offset the cost of the emergency. Hogan also pledged to bring more jobs and a better economy to the beleaguered city, but adds that change in the city will take time.
“We have to be honest with ourselves,” Hogan said. “These problems have taken decades to grow and will take decades to repair.”
While Hogan was lifting the state of emergency, Baltimore mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake was asking the United States Department of Justice to investigate possible patterns of abuse within the Baltimore Police Department. Hogan said of the mayor’s request, “We have to be honest with ourselves,” Hogan said. “That’s probably a step in the right direction.”
The Washington Times is reporting that mayor Rawlings-Blake’s focus is firmly on building better relations between the police and the Baltimore citizens. She has stated that though excessive force complaints and anti-police lawsuits are down, “we all know that Baltimore continues to have a fractured relationship between the police and the community.”
Baltimore erupted after Freddie Gray, a young black man, sustained massive injuries while in police custody and died a week later. Nearly 100 officers were injured, 200 arrests were made, and 170 cars and 250 businesses were destroyed.
Governor Hogan then instituted a state of emergency for the city of Baltimore, while mayor Rawlings-Blake instituted a 10 p.m. curfew. More than 3,000 National Guardsman and 1,000 officers from Maryland and the nation were deployed during the riots.
Mayor Rawlings-Blake’s request to the Department of Justice came one day after newly appointed Attorney General Loretta Lynch toured Baltimore and pledged to help. Lynch told faith and community leaders that “we’re here to hold your hands and provide support.”
Dena Iverson, spokesperson for the Department of Justice, said that Lynch has received the mayor’s request and “is actively considering that option in light of what she heard from law enforcement, city officials, and community, faith and youth leaders.”
[Image courtesy of the Washington Times]